Apple Hill Region
Some of the best cycling can be found here. Quiet roads, beautiful orchards, even a few wineries along the way. All rides below start in the same place (beginning of bike path), and climb up Carson Rd. From here, the routes diverge. There are many options on each ride, so each map includes in all the major roads in the Apple Hill region. This way, you can adjust your ride as you go (further if you're really having fun, and less if need to return quicker). Climbing tends to be moderate, though some short sections can have steep hills (Mace Rd for example).
Time to Ride: Best time to tour this area is Spring and Summer. Summer is especially nice as a way to exit the heat from the Sacramento valley (generally about 10 degrees cooler). Avoid riding in the Fall. From Labor Day to Christmas, the roads will be busy with people visiting this region to pick up apples, apple pies (and anything to do with apples), and in December, Christmas trees.
As a general rule of thumb, rides tend to average about 10-14 miles per hour. Climbing overall is approximately 100 feet/mile (so a 20 mile ride has about 2000 feet total climbing).
Rides in this area include:
Fruitridge Loop - 10 miles. Good ride to do when you're short on time. Touches briefly the Apple hill area, and has a nice view when reaching Carson Road.
North Canyon Loop - 13 miles. Goes further into Apple Hill region than Fruitridge Loop, yet is only three miles longer. Passes Lava Cap winery, and ends up connecting back with Fruitridge Loop at Carson.
Cable Road Loop - 19 miles. Our favorite in this region. Has all the features of Hassler ride, but includes Larson Orchards, a place where you can pick blueberries (seasonal), and several roadside fruit stands. Food and supplies available along the way in Camino.
Mace Loop - 22 miles. Continues from North Canyon ride, but climbs further. Good grunt hill on Mace Road, but you are rewarded with some great scenery along the way.
Mtn. Bike Ride:
Ghost Mountain Loop - 14 miles. A nice local mountain bike ride through the back side of Apple Hill. Passes Ghost Mountain Resort (road becomes dirt here for several miles - so Mountain Bikes are required). I find riding on Cable Rd during this ride to be especially relaxing and peaceful.